Plant found only in SLO County to stay endangered species

The Associated PressDecember 10, 2013 

Indian Knob mountain balm only grows in SLO County.

COURTESY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

— An endangered California pine shrub is not out of the woods yet.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the Indian Knob mountain balm, which grows in San Luis Obispo County, will not be removed from the endangered species list as previously recommended.

The coastal shrub was declared endangered in 1994.

In 2009, after threats like development, oil drilling and mining were reduced in the areas where it grows, federal officials recommended downgrading the mountain balm to a threatened species.

But new threats now come from other plants, primarily invasive grasses not native to the area like perennial veldt grass.

Officials were unable to find previously documented new growths of the mountain balm in recent studies, and decided the likelihood of extinction is enough to keep it on the endangered list.

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